On Sunday, President Obama appeared on Meet the Press and denied calling ISIS “jayvee” terrorists.
On Monday, PolitiFact rates that claim a lie.
Todd then remarked that Obama’s response was a “long way from when you described them as a JV team.”
“Was that bad intelligence or your misjudgment?” Todd asked.
“Keep in mind I wasn’t specifically referring to (Islamic State),” Obama replied. “I’ve said that, regionally, there were a whole series of organizations that were focused primarily locally, weren’t focused on homeland, because I think a lot of us, when we think about terrorism, the model is Osama bin Laden and 9/11.”
Is Obama editing his remarks or did Todd misrepresent what Obama said? We decided to take a look.
Yada yada yada. Here’s the transcript of the interview in which Obama used the “jayvee” analogy.
Remnick: “You know where this is going, though. Even in the period that you’ve been on vacation in the last couple of weeks, in Iraq, in Syria, of course, in Africa, al-Qaeda is resurgent.”
Obama: “Yes, but, David, I think the analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”
Remnick: “But that JV team just took over Fallujah.”
Obama: “I understand. But when you say took over Fallujah –”
Remnick: “And I don’t know for how long.”
Obama: “But let’s just keep in mind, Fallujah is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology is a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”
It’s obvious that Remnick asks about ISIS, and Obama answers about ISIS. We now know that Obama’s Presidential Daily Briefings had kept up to date on the growing ISIS threat for at least a year — if he had been reading those briefings.
Rating, both from PolitiFact and Glenn Kessler at the WaPo: False. Lots of Pinocchios. Obama is lying to the nation about his own take on national security and terrorism.